Detection of response to tumor microenvironment-targeted cellular immunotherapy using nano-radiomics

Sci Adv. 2020 Jul 10;6(28):eaba6156. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba6156. eCollection 2020 Jul.


Immunotherapies, including cell-based therapies, targeting the tumor microenvironment (TME) result in variable and delayed responses. Thus, it has been difficult to gauge the efficacy of TME-directed therapies early after administration. We investigated a nano-radiomics approach (quantitative analysis of nanoparticle contrast-enhanced three-dimensional images) for detection of tumor response to cellular immunotherapy directed against myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), a key component of TME. Animals bearing human MDSC-containing solid tumor xenografts received treatment with MDSC-targeting human natural killer (NK) cells and underwent nanoparticle contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) imaging. Whereas conventional CT-derived tumor metrics were unable to differentiate NK cell immunotherapy tumors from untreated tumors, nano-radiomics revealed texture-based features capable of differentiating treatment groups. Our study shows that TME-directed cellular immunotherapy causes subtle changes not effectively gauged by conventional imaging metrics but revealed by nano-radiomics. Our work provides a method for noninvasive assessment of TME-directed immunotherapy potentially applicable to numerous solid tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells* / pathology
  • Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology